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Parker Fly guitars are among the most exceptionally innovative and versatile instruments ever produced. Most notable for the revolutionary carbon fiber composite material used for the guitar’s exoskeleton and fretboard, the Parker Fly boasts numerous other innovations, such as specially designed pickups, electronics and vibrato system, as well as some very unusual construction techniques, to produce a great-sounding guitar that is as effortless to play as it is distinctive to behold. The Fly’s basic design dates back to the early ‘80s, and was first introduced to the public in 1993, when its unique shape and exceptional build quality quickly caught the attention of the guitar-buying public. Designer Ken Parker had been experimenting with a variety of tonewoods to realize his vision of a low-mass yet highly resonant guitar, but found it difficult to achieve an acceptable balance of weight, tone and stability. Hitting upon the idea of combining natural and man-made materials to bring his radical guitar designs to life, he finally settled upon a carbon fiber, glass and epoxy composite material as an exoskeleton to provide strength and rigidity to the body and neck, which enabled the use of much lighter materials for the majority of the guitar. Rather than relying on a large, heavy block of mahogany, ash or other tonewood to achieve a rigid body with sufficient sustain, as you would find, for example, on a Les Paul or, to a lesser extent, a Strat or Telecaster, the Fly guitars and basses have impressively thin, sculpted bodies and necks of traditional woods like mahogany, basswood and maple, as well as the less common Sitka spruce and cedar, which are more often used as the soundboard, or top, of an acoustic guitar. This ultra-thin body and neck assembly is then bonded to a specially prepared layer of carbon composite material (which is kept in an industrial freezer prior to assembly so the epoxy doesn’t set prematurely), by vacuum-packing them together and baking them in a pizza oven! The neck features a multi-fingered joint that contributes to the legendary stability and even tone, and the stainless steel frets are glued on the composite fingerboard, rather than hammered into slots in the traditional manner, resulting in a worry-free neck that doesn’t suffer from the usual intonation and fret wear problems. Other innovations include an easily adjustable flat-spring vibrato system, and piezo bridge pickups in addition to the specially designed magnetic pickups, with active electronics and stereo output, depending on model. The result is an incredibly light weight (around 4.5 pounds, which is about half the weight of a vintage Les Paul), yet super-strong guitar that is solid enough to stand on without damage, yet is so light and comfortable to play that it feels like an ergonomically perfect extension of the player’s body. Model variants include the Mojo, loaded with beefy Seymour Duncan humbuckers; the Maxx Fly, a shredder’s delight, equipped with a pair of screaming EMG pickups and a Floyd Rose tremolo; the somewhat more traditionally-shaped DragonFly; the NiteFly Radial series with a comfy radial neck joint; and signature models from Vernon Reid and a Sustainiac-equipped MIDI-enabled beauty from tone alchemist Adrian Belew. Legions of guitar heroes like Joe Walsh and The Edge have also played Parker Fly guitars - order yours today and take flight!
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